Sandy Hook Proving Ground

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Coordinates: 40°28′05″N 73°59′59″W / 40.468099°N 73.999743°W / 40.468099; -73.999743

14-inch guns and turret undergoing testing at Sandy Hook Proving Ground before installation at Fort Drum in the Philippines
Abandoned gun platforms and traverses (protective walls, seen on the right) of the Sandy Hook Proving Ground. Soldiers used a 20-foot gantry crane on rails to lift guns and carriages onto the platforms to be tested, or "proved". These platforms were part of the "new" Proof Battery, established in 1901 because of boundary disputes with Fort Hancock, replacing the original proof battery, which operated from 1874 to 1900.[1]

The Sandy Hook Proving Ground was a military facility along the Atlantic coast of New Jersey established by the Secretary of War on August 7, 1874, to serve as the United States Army's first proving ground for the testing of ordnance and materiel. The facility was located at Sandy Hook, a narrow coastal spit of land, approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) in length and 0.5 miles (varying between 0.1 and 1 miles) wide, in Middletown Township in Monmouth County. The facility was operated in conjunction with the adjoining Fort Hancock.

The Sandy Hook Peninsula met the army's needs for an experimental testing area for heavy ordnance and was on land that was already government owned. After its formal establishment on August 7, 1874, it was nearly two years before facilities were completed that allowed staffing and testing to reach its potential. Because of the period of time involved, the bulk of the weaponry designed, built and installed for coastal defense under both the Taft and Endicott Boards was tested at Sandy Hook.

A dual military command existed with the Sandy Hook Proving Ground – contained within the site of Fort Hancock – continuing to test ordnance equipment while the Coast Artillery Corps took over the harbor defense mission of the New York Harbor. The Proving Ground continued operations until 1919, when its weapons test site could no longer contain the ever-increasing range of larger and more powerful weapons and testing was moved to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland.


  1. ^ Descriptive display at Sandy Hook. Accessed: September 2, 2010

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